I had worked through all my labor anxiety and angst and wondered how I was going to wait another 6 to 11 weeks for this baby to arrive. (I love how there is a five week gap in which a baby can be born…gives new meaning to that verse “occupy till I come”).
And then, a few days ago, I was playing blocks with the girls and shuttling my attention between the two and it dawned on me…in a few months, I’m going to add a newborn to this. Possibly a squalling newborn.
And I had a moment of panic. Or strong, but stifled, anxiety.
Then I decided that the time has come to begin positive visualization of Me With Three.
Suddenly 6 to 11 weeks doesn’t seem all that long. Just kinda long.
So here’s what I have so far, on an hour’s contemplation late last night…
Preparation for Me With Three
(not to imply that Devo and I aren’t partners in this business, but there are many hours and many tasks in which it is just Me With Three, hence the catchy title that I am growing more and more fond of).
- Solidify immediate and cheerful obedience
- Solidify the concept of staying with Mommy, in the same room, within eyesight
- Encourage self-reliance for Lia with ‘school’ activities
- Potty train (We decided that’s a bad idea and that Amelie is really not interested at the moment–as evidenced by the look of long-suffering and slight bewilderment she wears when we put her on the potty. I’d really rather have two in diapers than spend lots of time cleaning up accidents, sitting patiently by the potty, and rushing off to toilets of unknown location. Lia decided to potty train when Amelie was 2 weeks old. I know what I’m talking about.)
- Teach Amelie to sit in the back of the shopping cart without standing up and to walk in the store while holding on to the cart.
Aim and Motto for Me With Three
Aim: To be a joyous mother. EnJOYing my family.
Motto: Gentle and Easy. Keep it Simple.
This implies that I am NOT going to try to be a Super Mom. I am not going to hold myself to levels of competency, efficiency, and community involvement that I perceive other mothers to accomplish. I’m giving myself permission and space to just take this transition slowly and enjoy it. I’m thinking fluffy bathrobe, not meticulous make-up. (Not that I’ve ever been accused of wearing meticulous make-up, but you know…)
The Nitty-Gritty of Me With Three
- Use the sling alot. That way I can be active and involved with the girlies and still enjoy and cuddle the baby. And I’ll be going to yoga to work out all the shoulder knots that the sling causes. Even my favorite Moby Wrap.
- Maintain a simple routine. Allow space for Devo to take over when I’m tired, but keep up the basic daily flow we’ve worked so hard to develop and settle in to.
- Develop some kind of shopping strategy. (Shopping freaks me out. What happens if I need to pee? And the stall isn’t big enough for all of us? These are the things that make me panicky. Dumb, but true.) And until I gain sufficient courage, only go shopping with Devo.
- Contemplate taking a bottle along shopping or to church. This seems a bit traitorous to me, but I’m willing to give it a try if it releases me from anxiety.
- Maintain Tomato-Staking.
- Breathe alot.
Things I’ve Found Encouraging
- Most people say that 0-1 children or 1-2 were much harder transitions than from 2-3. Being outnumbered doesn’t seem to hold sway as a legitimate argument with people who actually have three children.
- Most people also say that once you have three, you can have 12 and it won’t make much difference. I crave this competency.
- I know how to do this. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt stains.
- My older girls are much more helpful than they are needy. There will be lots of hands to get diapers and turn on swings and pick up pacifiers. And much more joy and love to pour onto the baby.
- There is a family routine firmly in place. It is a routine that has space for babies. We will not be starting from scratch, but rather opening up a bit to make space.
- I’m not as easily overwhelmed as I was two babies ago. Crying babies do not wig me out like they used to. Crying babies plus crying children do not cause my heart rate to escalate unduly (usually). Motherhood has bestowed on me a great deal of equilibrium that was not part of my genetic make-up (and it has done so at quite a price, I might add).
- I’m already used to balancing three on my lap. Of course, I don’t have to hold onto one of them presently, but at least I know there’s room.
I don’t actually know of very many people who have three children (or more) and can remember what the transition was like. But if there are any of you out there, I’d love some advice and tips and encouraging words.
No scary stories, please. I’d much rather live in ignorant bliss.